Mall's exclusive taxi deal means other drivers struggle

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, January 16, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---First new owners, then a new look, and now the mall announcing a new business model that calls for only one taxi provider.

"This is just like going back in time. Man this is a monopoly. Discrimination, you know," a cab driver and Hurricane Katrina evacuee who calls himself Mr. Henry told News 12. He is struggling to find work after the Augusta Mall announced his services were no longer needed.

"This never would go in New Orleans, you'd have enough cabs down at city hall to bring the city down," he said.

Mr. Henry is not alone. At least three other independent taxi owners gathered to say they're being treated unfairly. The Augusta Mall released a statement saying:

"In no way does Augusta Mall want to impact people negatively. Our current business model supports a leasing system for all aspects of our business, and this change reflects that business model."

In other words, Checker Cab of Augusta will lease the space and the others are out of luck.

"What it does to us small cab company owners...It puts you out of business," said Mark Lavigne. "Checker Cab of Augusta is one of the largest providers in the city, and now it is the sole provider for the Augusta Mall...others have to go, and if they don't, they could face jail time."

"He said 'If you pick her up you will be arrested'," said Bettie Clark. "I did stick my hands out and said handcuff me now."

News 12 took U.S.A. Taxi to the mall, and within minutes, flashing lights. Mr. Henry is not surprised: "Security is only doing what he's told to do...he have a job to do."

Bettie and other drivers like her say they are just looking to do their jobs. "Personally it hurts bad," Bettie said.

"It's hurting real's hurting our pocket books. I mean we can't pay our bills," said Michael Moyer.

"I'm a widow, and that's the way I support myself...without it I don't know what I'd do," said Bettie.

Cab drivers can drop off riders at the mall, but they can't pick them up. The mall says signs will go up soon stating "This space reserved for Checker Cab of Augusta".

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  • by marcus Location: martinez on Jan 26, 2008 at 08:17 AM
    I work at the mall. And now at the end of the day when i go home i know there will be a cab out side seven days a week. To the person who made these happen or the augusta mall THANK YOU THANK YOU Now i dont have to wait intill the other companys that where there were full of passengers. The new company yellow cabs will take one person at a time. AGAIN THANK YOU AUGUSTA MALL..............
  • by mark Location: augusta on Jan 25, 2008 at 06:33 PM
    I shop at the mall at least once a week. And talk about the worse cab companys ever where the ones that were there before. Thank you for the change augusta mall. Now my wife drops me off on the way to work and it is easy to get a cab back home. Keep up the great work and my hats off to you on the new section of the mall.
  • by mike Location: fort gordon on Jan 25, 2008 at 04:48 AM
    I am so happy that for the few more months i have here in augusta we me and some freinds ive made on post wont be taken advantage of any more. Before checker cab took over at the mall the other companys would not even have a set price. One day it was 15.00 back to post the next 10.00 per person or even 5.00 per person. They made up ther own prices. I am so happy the checker cab is at the mall. Not to mention that monday threw thursday ther where no cabs at the mall before checker cab took over. Thank you to whom ever idea that was.
  • by Julie Location: Augusta on Jan 23, 2008 at 07:27 PM
    Thank God, the terrible service by the fly by night cab companies has been addressed and the mall is trying to fix the problem. Have any of you tried to ride with the cab companies that were there before. Vehicles are dirty, drivers stink, some just plain look scary. As if that isn't enough they don't want to move until their cab is full so good luck when you are in a hurry or can't wait an hour for them to fill up because your little fare is not worth them leaving the cab stand. Hurray for somebody stepping up and taking action. Maybe our military will be treated like they deserve instead of herded like a bunch of cattle with no value or worth.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2008 at 02:35 PM
    Here are a couple solutions: 1)Have them call you on your cell phone and pick them up at somewhere other than the taxi stand, 2)Refuse to take people to the mall. If city hall gets involved, they would have to recognize this problem. If you are told you are trespassing if you pick up, then you have to be tresspassing in order to drop off. So either refuse to take them, or take them and drop them off at the entrance to mall property. It is a crappy way to do things, but it will get some legal attention. If Augusta has a law where people cannot be refused service, then all you have to do is follow the law. People should not have to be forced to call another company.
  • by angela Location: augusta on Jan 17, 2008 at 01:11 PM
    I do not think the mall should be allowed to charge a fee to cab drivers.thay are offering a service to the malls paying customers and the mall is trying to make a profit off the drivers who are just getting by.I also think any cab drivers should be able to pick up at the mall.Go to any major city and try that.I was a cab driver at one time and also dipatcher for both checker and radio and if you do not want to ride with the company sitting at the cab stand you have to walk off mall property to be able to get a cab
  • by michelle Location: augusta on Jan 17, 2008 at 06:21 AM
    Not only does this force other cab drivers out , but also gives the public no choice.Some of the independent drivers are cheaper and for someone having to take a cab in the first place, they are forced to pay more. I guess Linda, you will learn when some of these patrons stop coming cause they can't afford to pay the fare's and shop in your 'NEW MALL'. AS the new centers for shopping continue to grow, then the ones(patrons)that do support other cab companies will shop in these other spaces.
  • by Michael Location: North Augusta on Jan 16, 2008 at 05:35 PM
    This policy is a monopoly and I think the patrons of Augusta should boycott the mall premises until a new 'leasing' statement can be drawn up that offers at least 3 cab businesses to be available.
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